Changing the date of Australia Day and removing the opening prayer from the start of Lismore City Council meetings are two motions sure to spark debate at tomorrow’s meeting.
Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins has lodged a notice of motion calling on the council to write to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, local members and relevant ministers urging them to change the date of Australia Day.
Cr Ekins also wants to identify more appropriate dates for citizenship ceremonies, and to work toward culturally inclusive Australia Day celebrations.
‘Although Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 first fleet’s arrival in Botany Bay this date is known to many Australians as Invasion Day and Survival Day,’ Cr Ekins argues.
‘The 26 January only became a national holiday in 1994 (younger than the hottest 100) and changing the date will be a significant symbolic act.
‘If Australia Day is a day for all Australians, let’s choose a day when all Australians can celebrate.
She has suggested May 8. To find out why, watch https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tV57_pRGToU’
The other motion sure to have some fellow councillors looking to the heavens for inspiration comes from Cr Elly Bird.
Cr Bird wants to do away with the opening prayer at the start of council meetings.
‘Recent census data shows a declining percentage of our community is Christian, and in fact that around 30 per cent of people are not religious at all,’ she argues.
‘In recognition of our diverse community and in order for Council meetings to be as inclusive as possible it is no longer an appropriate opening for Council meetings and should be removed.’
The meeting will be held at the council chambers in Goonellabah from 6pm on Tuesday, but for those unable to make it, the meeting will be live-streamed via the internet.